By Mr. Will Wong
April Mullen‘s SIMULANT got the Red Carpet treatment tonight at Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto. The Sci-Fi Thriller was filmed in and around Toronto last year. Stars Sam Worthington, Robbie Amell, Masa Lizdek, Emmanuel Kabongo and Mullen were in attendance at the affair, brought to us by Mongrel Media and Telefilm Canada. Italia Ricci also came out to support her husband, Amell!
The Film looks at the consequences of Artificial Intelligence in a world where simulated versions of humans are looking to access the same things that their human counterparts have. At the center of the story is a woman named Faye (Jordana Brewster) who is torn between her love for her late husband Evan (Amell) and his surviving simulated version. The gorgeously-shot Feature certainly leaves audiences thinking and also stars Toronto’s Simu Liu as well.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Mullen and the Cast of SIMULANT.
Masa Lizdek plays an Android named Lisa. She has built a solid body of work appearing in productions like The Handmaid’s Tale, Saving Hope, Murdoch Mysteries and TIFF selection, THE WAITING ROOM. She tells us about this amazing opportunity, starring alongside a prolific Cast. All she had to do was be herself in the audition.
Lizdek: “‘I remember asking my agent, ‘Do you think I should go all out and put on this wig?’ and she was like, ‘Just go as yourself, look like your headshot. Don’t be extra, Masa. Just calm down’. Low and behold, being super-natural paid off, April liked what she saw and she offered me the role. I was more than happy to take that.”.
She tells about the extensive work that went into her makeup, costume and prosthetics.
Lizdek: “So they did a lifelike cast of me, silicon mold that was later silicon-cast, and then it was patinaed to give a nice skin tone. There was a styrofoam wig involved, we put on some lashes. We played a bit with teeth, I don’t think that worked out. Some contact lenses…”.
April Mullen who has been behind the lens in films like Wander, Below Her Mouth and series like The 100, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Wynonna Earp and several more, helms SIMULANT. She tells us about her decision to jump aboard this project, which was filmed over 20-plus days under some unpredictable weather conditions.
Mullen: “At the beginning, I read the Script actually eight years ago with AI technology was not like what it is now at all. It felt a lot more far-fetch and Sci-Fi to be honest. But the ending tore me up so much that I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t know who I was rooting for of the main characters. The Simulants were almost more appealing than the human beings because they were so focussed on one role, which was love. It opened-up a whole can of worms in my brain because I’ve always been an advocate for humanity. I just couldn’t sleep and had to make this next film.”.
We ask Mullen what she hopes the audience will take away from this Film.
Mullen: “I hope audiences really look inward, think about what they saw and reflect on it because I think AI technology is getting closer and closer to becoming intimate partners in friendships and relationships. We’re losing connection between ourselves that we’re almost becoming more isolated because we’re entertained in our own little boxes. What I think is so beautiful about humanity is that we can touch hands – I see a father and daughter tying a shoe and I’m inspired to make Art. I don’t want to lose that.”.
Toronto’s own Robbie Amell talks about playing a dual role in one as the real Evan and the other, his simulated counterpart.
Amell: “The nice thing is when April and I talked about it, you’re not supposed to know that they’re Sims. They’re supposed to be very real. They’re supposed to be very real and the Sim should have all the memories that Evan had. So really I’m just playing one character until he finds out that he’s a Sim. And then things start to change a little bit. There’s that moment he opens the door and he just walks away from it. It’s built into his programming he’s not allowed in there, so it shouldn’t feel weird to him at all.”.
With the Film having Simu Liu‘s name literally in its title, we had to ask what it was like working with the Shang-Chi star.
Amell: “I’m a huge Marvel fan and a huge Simu fan. I saw Shang-Chi in theatres, I loved it. Immediately when we worked together, I asked him about the bus scene and he’s awesome. He’s super-fun, super-prepared and he knows his stuff, he’s very funny and super-talented. I’m very happy he’s getting the success he’s getting and I was super happy to work with him.”.
Avatar leading man Sam Worthington had a day off and Toronto was fortuante enough to have him back. He plays Artificial Intelligence Compliance Enforcement (AICE) agent Kessler (Sam Worthington), who is out to target SIMs. He reflects upon his experience filming in and around Toronto.
Worthington: “Well we had to drive down to Hamilton a lot, so that’s a long trip, but I like the people – they’re friendly.”.
He tells us what he felt was the toughest thing about embody Kessler.
Worthington: “Getting the costume right. I kinda built that from the outside. I kinda had a costume I wanted to wear… and then you have to convince the Director you’re on a different track.”.
Asides from the next installment of Avatar, he tells us what we can expect next.
Worthington: “I’m doing Kevin Costner‘s movies (Horizon) There’s four films.”.
A reel of highlights from the night:
Mongrel Media release SIMULANT in theatres April 7, 2023.
(Photo/video credit: Mongrel Media/Mr. Will Wong)
Filmed over just 20 days in Toronto and Hamilton, RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE finally sees a release!
What are the real consequences when life begins to imitate art?
Comic book creator Todd Walkley, his wife Kathy, assistant Aurora and best friend, Hard Calibre Comics owner Ezra, embark upon a road trip from Toronto to NYC comic con and bad things start to happen. People start getting killed.
It soon becomes clear that a crazed fan is using Todd’s “SLASHERMAN” comic as inspiration for the killings and as the bodies pile up, and Todd’s friends and family become victims themselves, Todd will be forced to take artistic responsibility.
Random Acts of Violence is an elevated slasher horror that will easily become a cult favourite; scratching the entertainment element of horror whilst searching for the deeper meaning behind the violence. The film explores the idea of legitimizing cruelty, and the fact that monsters are not merely monsters, they are broken people. Stretching from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other, it holds a mirror up to art, society and violence.
See the Trailer:
Elevation Pictures release RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE on Digital and on-demand Friday, July 31, 2020.
(Photo/video credit: Elevation Pictures)
Summer’s over and not only is it back-to-school, it’s back-to-work for grown-ups! Starring in Jay Barcuhel-written and directed Feature RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE, Jordana Brewster has been working away this summer in Toronto. After a short break back in L.A. and time with her family, she head back to town to complete work on the Elevation Pictures release. The Film centers on two Comic Book Artists who notice their characters are eerily-similar to horrific real-life events.
Brewster known best for her work in the The Fast and the Furious Franchise is a veteran at her craft, getting her start as a Soap Opera star, seen most recently in TV Series, Lethal Weapon.
See our Snap with beautiful and gracious Brewster, plus others returning back to Toronto this weekend for work, including the men of American Gods Season Two (Demore Barnes, Pablo Schneider, Bruce Langley, Ricky Whittle) some who were in Atlanta for Dragon Con this weekend! We also spotted out v. own Aaron Ashmore back from Dragon Con too to continue work on Killjoys.
It's not only back-to-school, it's back-to-work for several stars in the City including: #FastandFurious star #JordanaBrewster (#RandonActsofViolence) • #PabloSchreiber (#AmericanGods) • #RickyWhittle (#AmericanGods) • #AaronAshmore (#TheKilljoys) • #BruceLangley (#AmericanGods) • #DemoreBarnes (#AmericanGods) • #RubyOFee
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
Universal Pictures Canada and Mr. Will want to take you on a high-octane ride to see eagerly-awaited FURIOUS 7! Screenings take place on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg!
Continuing the global exploits in the unstoppable franchise built on speed, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson lead the returning cast of Furious 7. James Wan directs this chapter of the hugely successful series that also welcomes back favorites Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Elsa Pataky and Lucas Black. They are joined by international action stars new to the franchise including Jason Statham, Djimon Hounsou, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey, Nathalie Emmanuel and Kurt Russell. Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel and Michael Fottrell return to produce the film written by Chris Morgan.
See the exclusive Canadian Trailer:
To enter to win, simply click “like” on this Post at MR. WILL ON FACEBOOK. State your City and tell me which Character in the FAST & FURIOUS Series is your favourite and why!
For an extra chance, simply Tweet out the below or click share from this Post at Mr. Will on Facebook!
http://www.mrwillwong.com/furious7 @MRWILLW wants us to #win Passes to see #FURIOUS7! Out 4/3/15!
Universal Pictures Canada release FURIOUS 7 on Friday, April 3, 2015.
(Photo/video credit: Universal Pictures Canada)
It absolutely is our favourite time of the year again and announced this morning is the official list of Talent coming to Toronto for TIFF ’14! We look forward to seeing plenty of returning names – some just here last year like the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Kate Winslet – and also plenty of Stars from years past making their way back here once more!
Among the names attending TIFF ’14 this year include:
Jon Stewart, Martin Scorcese, Richard Gere, Andrew Garfield, Viggo Mortensen, Gael Garcia Bernal, James Franco, Jane Fonda, Chloë Moretz, Brit Marling, Laura Dern, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vanessa Redgrave, Vera Farmiga, Al Pacino, Tina Fey, Haley Joel Osment, Robert Pattinson, Ansel Elgort, Alice Eve, Sam Rockwell, Amanda Seyfried, Michael Shannon, Dax Sheppard, Robert Duvall, Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Hailee Steinfield, Justin Chatwin, Method Man, Jennifer Connelly, Bobby Cannavale, Kuoth Wiel, Cassie Williams, Danny Webb, Dominic West, Jung Woo-Sung, John Boylan, Sam Worthington, Tye Sheridan, Andrew Scott, Timothy Spall, Alan Rickman, Connie Britton, Reese Witherspoon, Evan Bird, Zhao Wei, Han Ye-Ri, Melissa Benoist, Haley Bennett, Sonja Bennett, John Travolta, Julianne Moore, Isaach De Bankolé, Dan Stevens, Jason Bateman, Corey Stoll, Xavier Dolan, Peter Stormare, Ben Schnetzer, Abigail Spencer, Ellen Barkin, Bill Pullman, Charlotte Aubin, Kate Winslet, Ryan Reynolds, Rene Russo, Roger Waters, Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Loreto Aravena, Tobey Maguire, Aubrey Plaza, Tobey Maguire, Gemma Arterton, Juliette Binoche, Zhang Yimou, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kristen Wiig, Adam Sandler, Rose Byrne, Channing Tatum, Chris Evans, Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Mark Ruffalo, Bill Murray, Daniel Barber, Liam Aiken, Mike Leigh, Olivier Assayas, Richard LaGravenese, Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Anna Kendrick, Morgan Freeman, Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Rosario Dawson, Chris Rock, John Cusack, Benedict Cumberbatch, Octavia Spencer, Keira Knightley, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kevin Costner, Anthony Mackie, Patricia Clarkson, J.K. Simmons, Miles Teller, Priyanka Chopra, Daniel Bruhl, Michael Winterbottom, Justin Chon, Steve Carell, Gong Li, Hayden Christensen, Tory Kittles, Jordana Brewster, Holliday Grainger, Max Irons, Lone Scherfig, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Paul Bettany, Daniel Barnz, Noah Baumbach, Barry Avrich, Jennifer Aniston, Akon, Nick Kroll, Holly Hunter, Catherine Keener, Greta Gerwig, Omar Sy Jennifer Garner, Salma Hayek, Kevin Smith, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Faye Marsay, Bill Nighy, Justin Long, Christopher Plummer, Marton Csokas, David Cronenberg, Sarah Gadon, Tom Schilling, Tom Hardy and more!
TIFF also will be hosting a series of In-Conversations-With as part of their Mavericks Programme. Joining-in are the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Denzel Washington, Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche, Jon Stewart, Dan Savage, Julie Taymor and several more!
As is the case always, it’s sometimes not just who’s coming – it’s who they’re bringing. Don’t be surprised if Jennifer Garner brings Husband Ben Affleck along and be warned if Andrew Garfield brings Emma Stone along!
Who’s on our list of Must-Meets? Plenty! We hope finally to get a positive moment with Reese Witherspoon and Kate Winslet! Excited about Martin Scorcese, J.K. Simmons, Bobby Cannavale, Miles Teller, Corey Stoll, Tobey Maguire, Rose Byrne, Michael Douglas and newer names like Max Irons and Douglas Booth, that’s for sure. And did we read TINA FEY!?!? Finally! AND WHERE IS TOM HARDY?!?!
The list is always subject to surprise and no-shows as we know all too well!
Visit the official TIFF Website for more.
TIFF ’14 runs September 3 – 14, 2014.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
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